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Take the Over - Week 15 Games Which Could Surprise

At this stage of the season, we get a lot of really exciting matches with the potential to be high-scoring. This week's highlight figures to be on Thursday as the Los Angeles Chargers play the Kansas City Chiefs, while the New England Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. These games we know are likely to be filled, not just with excitement but with fantasy value. They have numerous players on their teams who will help fantasy owners have a shot to win their semifinal matchups and move on to the finals.

However, what about the less exciting matchups? What about the games where there will be very few eyes around the world watching? Can they provide fantasy value? At this point in the season, teams are extremely banged up and opportunities arise through injuries on offense or defensive issues creating holes which offenses can exploit.

In this article, I will take a look at some of those less exciting matchups and attempt to identify some under-the-radar players who could tip you over the edge into making the finals this week.

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Oakland Raiders @ Cincinnati Bengals

Unless you are a Raiders or a Bengals fan you are unlikely to watch a single minute of this game. The Bengals are missing their starting quarterback and best wide receiver and the Raiders are coached by Jon Gruden. However, what this game does present is a matchup between two of the worst defenses in the NFL this season. The Bengals rank dead last in points and yards surrendered and the Raiders are among the bottom five in both categories.

When you look at the fantasy points surrendered to each position the fantasy options are interesting. Both teams are among the top-10 when it comes to most points surrendered to quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends. Now the chances are that Jared Cook is already in the lineups of most teams that own him but what other options are there?

I am not saying you suddenly abandon your number one quarterback and start either Derek Carr or Jeff Driskel but in two-quarterback leagues, you could do a lot worse this week. Carr is the more likely option for people to trust but if you are really desperate, you could turn to Driskel. Joe Mixon has been quietly solid most of the season for the Bengals and should see most of the carries. Doug Martin has been seeing the majority of the carries for Oakland and has a touchdown in each of the last three games. I find it tough to trust C.J. Uzomah despite the Raiders being the worst team in the league against the tight end, allowing nine TD to the position.


Tennessee Titans @ New York Giants

This one takes a little more work to convince you it could have some scoring. The Titans defense actually ranks among the best in terms of points surrendered and yards given up. However, they have had their trouble covering wide receivers this season, surrendering the ninth-most fantasy points to the position. If Odell Beckham is healthy, then he will be a must-start.

The Giants defense, on the other hand, ranks in the bottom half in most defensive categories. However, they have done well defending opposing wide receivers and quarterbacks. Saying that they surrendered 195 yards in garbage time to Josh Johnson last week and a 79-yard reception to Jamison Crowder. I would look to avoid using Marcus Mariota, but Corey Davis does offer some intrigue given the lack of other receiving weapons in that offense. Where the Giants have struggled is against the run. They rank in the bottom 10 in rush attempts, yards and touchdowns surrendered, and they have given up the eighth most fantasy points to the running back position. Derrick Henry (or Not) in Fantasy Playoffs" href="">Coming off the back of last week it is hard to ignore Derrick Henry. Henry now has touchdowns in his last two games and went on a three-game run of touchdowns in Weeks 7 through 10. Given the Giants are allowing 0.8 rushing touchdowns to running backs this season there is a good chance he might add another one this week.


Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons

I wanted to end with this game despite some concerns I have about both of the teams. Given that both are currently among the top five in draft position for next season they both have a lot of incentive to lose this week. That is usually not a good situation when it comes to fantasy. However, both defenses have had their issues this season, and that could make for an interesting high scoring game in the dome.

The Cardinals rank in the bottom three in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns surrendered and are giving up the third most fantasy points to the running back position. That creates some interesting value for Ito Smith, who had one more carry than Tevin Coleman last week and looked a little more effective. Trusting him is risky given that this run game has been hit-or-miss all season, but in deeper leagues, he could be a flex play this week. On the passing side, the Cardinals have been very good, ranking top-10 in most categories. However, there is absolutely no way I am not starting Julio Jones this week, and despite a bad offensive line, I would still trust Matt Ryan in most spots. However, I would avoid the rest of that passing offense.

For the Cardinals, there is a chance for some value. The Falcons defense is right around the bottom 10 in most categories defensively this season. The trouble is that to start the pass catchers, you are relying on Josh Rosen to be consistent. The only real weapon that you would want to trust is Larry Fitzgerald, but even he has been inconsistent this season. Saying that the only real corner on the Falcons I would want to avoid a matchup with is Desmond Trufant and he is unlikely to cover Fitzgerald all game. Trufant has not tended to move around much and usually does not come into the slot so Fitzgerald should have a good shot at some value.

David Johnson remains a fantasy relevant option in this game as the Cardinals gave him 15 touches and 10 targets last week, demonstrating they are not throttling back on his usage despite the season coming to a close. In addition, the Falcons are surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs and are surrendering a league-high 7.5 receptions per game to the position. If there were any indication this week that Johnson might see limited touches, then Chase Edmonds would carry some interest. This could be a surprisingly high scoring game between two bad football teams.

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